The Passing of Rabbit MacKay

Back in 1968 when my family moved back to Ventura County after nine years in the Santa Ynez Valley, a new friend of mine at Moorpark College (also a folkie like myself) took me to a concert in the gym. The featured act was Rabbit MacKay, and I really liked his music. It was as unique as he appeared to be (remember when being unique was what everyone strived for?) and his voice was as confounding as his stage presence.

Through the years I saw him a number of other times at various small gigs and I even learned that my mentor, Maestro Frank Salazar of the Ventura County Symphony, considered him a friend and had bailed him out of jail on more than one occasion. Frank told me that Rabbit and his friends often came up to his house on the Ventura riviera to play music while candles dripped in wine bottles and incense filled the air.

Rabbit Mackay was a singer and musician who, with his Somis Rhythm Band, made an LP for MCA (Uni) Records, Bug Cloth,in 1968. Information on him is scarce, but he was said to be still performing into the 2000s although the only other known recording by him is one track on a compilation album issued in 2006.

Rabbit MacKay & the Somis Rhythm Band played a mix of garage and folk songs, which MacKay wrote. He was an interesting, non-typical writer who followed his own heart, performing mainly at colleges and coffeehouses. His was a progressive group that showed more promise than most. As the members changed, the band's name changed from the Somis Rhythm Boyze and the Somis Rhythm Boyz.

British DJ John Peel, who played the UK release of Hard Time Woman on his show, Top Gear, wrote approvingly of Bug Cloth in his column in the International Times of August 23, 1968.

"In these days of very clinical recordings it is good to
hear something that radiates happiness like this."

He was still performing in 2005 when he contributed a track on the La Conchita... Remember compilation CD put together to raise money for the victims of the La Conchita mudslide in January of that year.

Rabbit MacKay passed on August 10, 2017. More information will be added as it is received. If you have any information please send it by using the Contact link above.